Addressing the opioid crisis requires a culture change in how society views pain and what to do when our reliance on painkillers become problematic. Physicians and other health care providers are in a unique and respected position to shape our community’s perspective on how to view and respond to pain. We now know that the message of “zero pain” has contributed to the overuse and misuse of painkillers and needs to be reframed to “functional tolerance”. Adopting safe prescribing practices across systems and in clinics is a critical step in changing the culture of pain management, as is ensuring that patients have access to medication-assisted addiction treatment to treat active addiction and naloxone to reduce the likelihood of opioid overdose deaths.
The Safe Med LA goal to reduce prescription drug abuse deaths in LA County requires active support from the provider community. Prescription drug abuse deaths can and will be reduced in Los Angeles County if every health care provider takes action at the clinical and/or policy level. Visit the DPH Substance Abuse and Prevention Control Program website for more local resources for patients and providers. Health care providers have contributed to the local and national epidemic of prescription drug abuse; now we have the opportunity to be part of the solution.